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FOOTBALL: City edge 7 goal thriller
Hull City 4 – 3 Norwich (Saturday March 10)
Seven goals, four penalties and three huge Championship points – those were the key stats to come out of a strange old Saturday afternoon at the KCOM Stadium.
They only tell half of the story, though, as the Tigers edged an enthralling encounter 4-3 against Norwich City, coming from 3-1 down courtesy of goals from Jackson Irvine, two spot kicks from Abel Hernandez and a crucial winner from Harry Wilson.
Nigel Adkins made four changes to his side following the midweek defeat to Millwall, one of which saw goalkeeper David Marshall come in to make his first league appearance of the season. He replaced Allan McGregor, who picked up a knock in the clash with the Lions. Callum Burton provided goalkeeping cover on the bench.
Hernandez also made his first start since returning from injury as Nouha Dicko dropped to the bench, with Ondrej Mazuch and Wilson also coming into the side in place of Angus MacDonald and Kamil Grosicki.
The Tigers created a great opening with just two minutes played as Jarrod Bowen drifted in from the right before slipping the ball through to Markus Henriksen inside the box but he could only side-foot straight into the hands of Angus Gunn in the Norwich goal.
Another chance came just a minute later, Irvine delivering a right-wing cross on to the head of Hernandez, but again the effort offered a simple save for the goalkeeper.
It was exactly the type of start the home side needed after the midweek disappointment and a deserved opening goal arrived in the sixth minute. Wilson was the creator, coming in from the left before knocking a pass through for Irvine who applied a low finish into the far corner of the net.
Nelson Oliverira fired just over the bar for Norwich but it wasn’t long before the Tigers were back on the attack, Mazuch sending a header wide from Seb Larsson’s corner.
A solo run from Wilson almost brought a second, but Norwich would level matters in the 18th minute. An ill-timed challenge from Marshall on the edge of his own area initially looked to have been punished by a free kick as the referee’s assistant indicated the foul had taken place outside the box. However, after the official got together for a chat, the decision was to award a spot kick and James Maddison sent Marshall the wrong way.
Incredibly, just a minute later, Norwich took the lead as Maddison grabbed his second with a low finish from inside the box.
Norwich lost midfielder Moritz Leitner to injury soon after. He was replaced by Ivo Pinto who almost immediately found himself in the referee’s notebook for a foul on Wilson.
Larsson saw a free kick saved by Gunn before Norwich – and Maddison – added a third in the 39thminute. Again it came from the penalty spot, Mazuch penalised for a foul on Onel Hernandez. Although Marshall went the right way this time, Maddison’s effort had too much on it as it found the bottom corner.
Four minutes before the break, the referee was pointing to the spot for a third time in the half and this time it went the Tigers’ way as Bowen was brought down. Up stepped Hernandez to bring his side back into the game – 2-3 at half time.
It took just three minutes of the second half for the Tigers to draw level and, guess what? It came from the penalty spot! The referee spotted some kind of shirt pull as Larsson delivered a free kick into the box. Hernandez again stepped up and went for brute power as he made it 3-3.
Wilson’s deflected effort was saved by Gunn and Oliveira saw a shot blocked as the game flowed from end to end, Henriksen blasting one over from 25 yards in another home attack.
Larsson picked up a booking for pulling Maddison back before Hernandez was withdrawn with an hour played and replaced by Fraizer Campbell.
Campbell almost put his side ahead moments after coming on but Gunn made a block after fumbling Bowen’s low shot.
Bowen then saw a right-footed effort pushed away by Gunn at his near post after good set-up play from Wilson before Norwich’s Hernandez missed a great chance as he sliced horribly wide from six yards.
The Tigers took the lead with 71 minutes on the clock. A well-constructed goal saw the ball moved from one end to the other, Bowen eventually finding Wilson who produced some Welsh magic inside the box before firing home.
Ola Aina saw a powerful shot saved by Gunn as he led a rapid counter-attack, with Campbell denied by the goalkeeper seconds later.
Max Clark was booked for a foul on Marley Watkins before a change saw Jon Toral come on for Bowen with two minutes remaining, with a final substitution coming in the first of four minutes of added time as man-of-the-match Wilson was replaced by Michael Hector.
Norwich threw men forward in the time remaining, but the Tigers stood firm to move six points clear of the relegation zone.
Hull City: David Marshall, Ola Aina, Michael Dawson, Ondrej Mazuch, Max Clark, Sebastian Larsson, Markus Henriksen, Jarrod Bowen (Jon Toral 88), Jackson Irvine, Harry Wilson (Michael Hector 90), Abel Hernandez (Fraizer Campbell 60).
Subs Not Used: Callum Burton, Michael Hector, Kamil Grosicki, Nouha Dicko, Fikayo Tomori.
Attendance: 15,120 (1,282 Visiting Supporters).
(report courtesy of www.hullcitytigers.com)